Written warning from work regarding absences

Hi all I have been working in a call centre for over 4 years now, been two years diagnosed with hypothyroidism since then have been tired and healths not been the best weight gain, asthma triggering off, being too tired, swollen feet to name a few, at first I had a disciplinary for my lateness because it was an absolute struggle for me to manage half 8 in the morning starts at that hearing I was told it's my responsibility to get a health check done and report back to them with how my health effects my ability to work but my doctor refused to do the occupational health check and wrote a letter in my Favour from which that disciplinary stopped I then opted myself to work for longer hours with more days off which started from 10am rather than 8:30am. Since then Iv had 8 Seperate occasions of absences I'm a born asthmatic and hence had three Seperate occasions of two chest infections and a viral infection rest were not related to my illnesses as such I asked for myself to be moved to a warmer place as a reasonable adjustment which got rejected, I then asked for the heating to go up which also got rejected because I'm always sensitive to cold due to windows being open and air cons being on. I then ended up in a disciplinary again this time for my absences for the 8 occasions mentioned above, in which I explained about my illness being classed as a disability but the result of that was a written warning and my free benefits from company being taken away for 9 months. In my welfare meeting I asked for a higher trigger point for absences which also got rejected. I put in a grievance complaint and appealed against the disciplinary decision. Today I had the meeting and again I feel I'm getting no where is there anything I can do?! I am trying my best to manage my illness by getting regular blood tests and recently I asked my doctor to refer me to a dietician because my weight has gone up and due to that my asthma is being triggered off more but doctor said NHS has rejected that request because I don't suffer from diabetes and Im not as overweight as they would want for their patients to be. With my work managers it feels to me as they don't care and I don't feel supported at all. Need some desperate advice as feel very depressed in this situation

21 Replies

  • Welcome to the forum, Unpredicatable4u.

    Your situation sounds difficult. I'm unable to advise but I'm sure other members will be able to help in due course. It may be worth contacting benefitsandwork.co.uk for advice and there may be helpful responses to similar questions in the link below.


  • Hello,

    That sounds so very tough for you.

    Have you been referred to your works occupational health?

    My OC health Dr (independent adivisor for my work) has been extremely supportive and stated in reports that in her option is be covered under the disability at work act. I lost a lot of strength and muscle due to low ferritin and slightly low thyroid, after having my baby, and was diagnosed with hypermobility syndrome. However all is returning since raising the ferritin and correcting the thyroxine (though damage was done after being on too much for a while) and physio.

    All things thyroid take a very long time to correct. She pointed out that without the medication I'd be dead therefore it's classed as a disability.

    I was very scared of OC health for some reason but they were vet good. Your work - I think- should have an OC health dept.

  • Totally agree..your work should refer you to OH that is your right..their aim is to support you..not make you worse..I recently had to see OH and she was very good..I am on a phased return at the moment but can only have one sickness now in three months..it's a huge pressure..I do understand and feel for you xx

  • Hi there i was in the same boat as yourself get on to pip it is the new dwp department of work and pentions you are working with a disability and explaine your case it happened to me I don't work anymore as I couldn't keep to a 9 to five 5 job and I was granted dwp

  • Hi clutter, hagisplant and angelina50 thank you for your support no haggisplant they don't have a occupational health check in my company hence they asked me to do it but my doctor refused and said its my employers responsibility, will check on the website and pip which yous have suggested

  • Hi Unpredictable,

    It's illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because of a disability. If your health problems meet the criteria to classify you as disabled then they are obliged to disregard any disability-related absences when considering disciplinary action against you. They are also required to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your needs relating to your disability. My advice would be to join a union asap if you haven't already and read up on the wording of the legislation so you know your rights.

  • 1st port of call should be the ' disability discrimination act ' ..... which should lay out the responsibilities of all parties

  • The disability discrimination Act has been replaced by the Equality Act. It is fiendishly complex. People with MS,cancer,HIV ,or blind,partially sighted are defined as deemed disabled. The rest have to show they are and just having an impairment is not enough ,some of us will meet the definition and others will not. The test is about your inability to carry out every day activities, not specific work activities , such as mobility,lifting, walking, being too tired to get up in a morning . A Tribunal determines if someone is disabled on the basis of these activities and often with medical reports.

    Employers have to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees and this could mean changing hours of work if practicable. But they have a business to run and there are limits to what can be expected.

    As others have said if you have a union go there,a free law centre ,the CAB,may help.

    See if you have employment law advice on your house insurance.

    Good luck.

  • The big downside a couple of disabled friends have run into is that while they must make reasonable adjustments, if you actually can't do the job they are still allowed to sack you.

  • Able bodied are sacked if they cannot do the job.

  • If your disability prevents you from fulfilling the role they need. That's where the protection ends.

  • Hi Silver Avocado I know What you mean i am able to do the job just been off on 8 different ocassions and even them iv been Off Short Term like 2-3 Days and then i was back at work because i myself cant Afford to take Many Days off work otherwise i Would love to wait till i fully recover from My infections or any health issue and Return to work, unfortunate thing for me is i have been ill nearly every month for them 2-3 Days and Thats why Theyr considering me as an unreliable worker. When im there i do lots of overtime and give more hours to work than most other employees Based on that i thought its unfair for them to give disciplinary actions as im not taking Weeks and months off like some people at times in My Situation need.

  • That sounds like very little time off to me! Before I left my job I had negotiated to change my contract to 4 days per week, and was allowed to use one holiday day per week.

    Ironically I had the opposite problem - my work didn't want to accept that people could be too sick to work, so I went through almost a year of them hassling me to do phased returns and things.

  • After having read your message I felt stress, stress and more stress. You are in a situation that is making you ill and it will not stop until you put a stop to it.

    I would try to find a different job, a job that will bring me satisfaction not constant anxiety and further deterioration of my health.

  • I second this. Jobs are not as important as health.

    Altho my experience has been that employers are invariably very unhelpful and you have to fight.

  • what were your latest thyroid test with ratings, and what meds are you taking...sounds like you are not medicated correctly......did they test your free t3 free t4 and tsh and reverse t3.......do you eat or take supplements with medication, do y ou d rink coffee with meds,etc

    Not all drs know how to treat the thyroid properly and few drs do know how so you need to change drs probably....but need to find someone that is great in your area....or drive to a better dr......

  • Hi jacrjacr

    I take levothyroxines I had a blood test done last month and doc said I should continue with 100mg, I was first started on low dose then increased 25mg each time was 75mg for 6months and when they tested me again I needed to be 100mg, your right my doctor doesn't have any clue on how to support or help me but I don't want to change doctors because iv been with worse doctors than him he's still quite good when it comes to other illnesses regarding hypothyroid I think there's a lack of knowledge in doctors. There are times I feel I should give up on taking these medicines because I feel Theyr so much causing more problems too, my asthma recently has gone very unstable whereas before for so many years I didn't have that issue 😓 was considering herbal medicines but bit sceptical about it

  • Get the book 'understanding thyroid disorders' by Dr A Toft.

    It is a British Medical Association publication, about £5, Amazon.

    It will clearly state - for your GP to see - that the best levels are tsh 0.3-1. (I know this isn't the best testing but it's about working with the GP and what they know in this case).

    If you need to adjust an extra 25, do so, discuss the possibility that this could be further adjusted to alternate days eg 125 one day 100 the other. I have to fine tune like this. I personally prefer t4 treatment as have no conversion issues, and t4 is a long lasting stable medication. I know I personally would not do well on t3/t4.

    (Toft himself says in the book, ideally T3/t4 would be the best treatment but it's currently not as straightforward as t4 though I know many here do take it.)

    Work with the GP to get these good results and clarify that ferritin, vit d, b12 folate are all good.

    Your work - I think but don't know - are possibly breaking the law without an OC health dept.

    They have a duty of care for their staff and this includes reasonable adjustments for chronic conditions.

    However I'm not sure how you tackle this other than suggestions such as DWP.

    Definitely seek Union help.

  • Unfortunately it all comes down to the level of absence the business can support. If considered under disability act then employer has to look at reasonable adjustments. This can be considering increasing absence levels or reducing working hours, extra breaks etc. I have had 2 forms of cancer in past 4years. Was on final written warning due to exceeding 8 day consideration point due to chest infections in past 18 months twice. Recently had 2 days before Xmas due to chest infection then 3 weeks for thyroid removal in June due to thyroid cancer. Still waiting to hear if absence can be supported or if I will be sent for dismissal. Employers have to consider reasonable adjustments but ultimately the level of absence that can be supported due to business need is the employers get out of jail free card. If dismissed can still take your chances with industrial tribunal but this is often costly. Sorry I cannot offer more positive advice but I have had ohs advice which states I should recover well etc but still waiting for a decision from my employer. At least if they do dismiss me I will get a bit of compensation.

  • Hi I'm sorry you have been treated this way . I had my job terminated because I coulnt give a time frame when I would feel better to return I gave hashi I have applied fir sick benefits got a letter today to go for a medical 😥 but you know I Realy don't care anymore ive worked all my life an it's got me no were I would rather eat spuds an be healthy . Hope you get this sorted soon try not to ghetto stressed 😌

  • Thank you all for your Support and Kind advice, i guess ill need to just Wait till i Get something back from them and if Its not of Satisfactory level then try with Acas and see if They can be any help. I did contact a Union but They said they wont be able to help me because i shouldv joined them before getting into Trouble not after but something for me to consider in Future. I have been looking for another job but around My City My workplace Pays more than other companies so adjusting to lower wäge is not a Financial Choice i can Make due to my comitments 😓 i tend to work a lot of hours cause i need the money hence probably getting myself even more ill each time. But il fight my corner till the end with my employers once again Thank you for all your help ☺️

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